THE world is desperately waiting to find out whether Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will have a little boy or girl.
And while it’s not yet clear if even the royal couple know the gender of their baby, Meghan’s uncle has claimed that the Duchess may have a secret preference.
Joseph Johnson, 69, who lives in Fresno in California, claimed his niece’s upbringing – surrounded by strong independent women – could mean she’d rather raise a girl.
“I think she probably wants a girl,” he told the Daily Mail.
“I'm sure Harry wants a boy. A daughter would be a real comfort to Meghan.
“A boy would be…more of a challenge. She might be a little more comfortable with a girl.”
Meghan is very close with her mum, Doria Ragland, who is expected to fly from California to be by her daughter's side during the birth.
Mr Johnson is the half-brother of Doria and they both shared the same mum, Meghan's grandmother, Jeanette.
He described Doria, 62, as a role model and said Meghan gets her “courage” from her mum.
With racial segregation still rife in America, he recalled a childhood marred by poverty and racism.
Their family was even driven out of a 'whites only' town in Texas.
But he believes the tough experiences made Jeanette more resilient and socially aware — traits she handed down to Doria, who has passed them onto Meghan.
Meghan’s baby is due in late April or early May.
She is reportedly considering giving birth at home in Windsor, according to friends.
The Duchess, 37, would be following the Queen's example if she opts for a home birth, as the monarch had all her four kids at either Buckingham Palace or Clarence House.
Mum-to-be Meghan’s first choice would be to have her baby at Frogmore Cottage, the new home she shares with Prince Harry, sources claim.
Friends have said Meghan has not completely ruled out a hospital delivery in the event of a premature birth or the need for an epidural or caesarean.
When asked whether Meghan wants to have a home birth, one friend told the Daily Mail: “It is her favoured choice.
“But it obviously depends on how things are nearer the time.”
Prince Harry is reportedly planning to be by Meghan’s side “every step of the way”.
It comes after reports that Meghan has royally snubbed the Queen's doctors in the lead up to the first of her first child, as she doesn't want the "men in suits" to deliver her baby.
In the final days of her pregnancy, Meghan has appointed her own delivery team, led by a female doctor.
The royal household's gynaecologists Alan Farthing and Guy Thorpe-Beeston, who specialises in high-risk childbirth, were present at the births of all three of William and Kate's children.
But, despite being two of the best in the business, the pair have been denied a leading role in the delivery of Prince Harry's baby.
According to royal protocol, the doctors cannot be excluded from the process entirely, and should anything go wrong in the birth they will be present to step in.
A royal source told the Mail on Sunday: "Meghan said she doesn’t want the men in suits. She was adamant that she wanted her own people. It did leave a few of us a little baffled."
It is slightly surprising. These people are the best of the best
Another said: "It is slightly surprising. These people [the Queen’s doctors] are the best of the best and when it comes down to it, their role would actually be very limited in the birth itself, assuming all goes to plan."
The move to shun the royal gynaecologists could be seen by some as unnecessary extravagance, as the Queen's physicians do not charge a fee and taking on a new team of specialists will cost tens of thousands.
A source explained: "Working for the Royal Household is seen as an honour and attracts other high-profile fee-paying patients."
In another break from royal tradition,is not planning to pose with her newborn baby on the hospital steps like Kate Middleton and Diana, it is understood.
The Sun revealed that the Duchess of Sussex is expected to break a four-decade royal tradition by shunning the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London.
Royal Correspondent Emily Andrews reported that the mum-to-be wants a more private, normal birth and to bond with her baby without the pressure of looking picture perfect.
Over the last few months, rumours over a "royal feud" between Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton have reached fever pitch.
But now, one royal expert has claimed that once Baby Sussex is born, Prince Harry and Meghan's new arrival could "heal" the rumoured "rift".
Royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams has explained that things could change when the baby is born, suggesting that a new arrival could "heal" the relationship between the sisters-in-law.
"There's no doubt that when the baby is born it will definitely alter and possibly heal things," he told Fabulous Online.
This comes as the latest difference between the Sussexes and Cambridges as brothers Harry and William have recently split households – with Meghan and Harry set to move from London to Frogmore Cottage, at Windsor Castle, within a matter of days.
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